Sunday, March 13, 2005

"The Power of Pride" and Other Silliness

I've been focusing on the writing of a post over on my single-dad blog thinking I could shine in The Zero Boss's blog-writing contest "Blogging For Books" and you might want to go read my entry, it's potentially more interesting than anything I'll post here.

I've seen the post-9/11 bumper stickers "The Power of Pride" everywhere I go, it seems. Someone made a tidy sum from patriotism. Ribbon magnets and the entire schmeer, I have no objections really, I'm just reminded of John Prine's "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore".

"The Power of Pride", though, strikes me as a little troublesome. After all, isn't Pride one of the Seven Deadly Sins? I know these comments will draw some wingnut half-witticisms about me hating the country and how I should move to France or whatever, that I'm missing the point and, well, I'm wondering, what is the point? Are we selective about what sins are acceptable?

Obviously lying is something that comes easy for Republicans (although I don't recall "Dishonesty" being one of the Seven Deadly Sins), killing and sacrifice of others doesn't appear to bother neo-cons. Greed, also one of the Seven Sins, seems to be a virtue in the me-firstism of Red State morality. So why would I think that Pride is something that those folks would want to eschew?

Hubris is nothing new to BushCo. International adventures under the guise of furthering democracy is the epitome of Pride: "We know how to run a country, you don't, and we'll bomb you into submission until you understand that." The self-righteousness of the Religious Right and its determination to force its morality on the rest of us is Pride taken to dangerous extremes.

Instead of exercising a little humility, the country has lunged blindly behind a puffed up little twit girded with the arrogance of a rich frat boy convinced of his superiority to others. This is, in the grand scheme of things, a monumental mistake. The proud get their comeuppance because the proud are blind to their own humanity and their own failings. I'm no theologian but I can say I understand why Pride would be one of the Seven Deadly Sins. As a psychologist I know that Pride is invariably a defense mechanism used to cover an underlying sense of fear, usually an irrational fear.

Pride prevents us from admitting a need for improvement because in being proud, we're satisfied that everything is just as it should be. Pride is the mark of the emotionally immature. To continue learning, accumulating knowledge, requires the humility to admit that there are things that we don't know. The humble evolve; the proud decay.

"The Power of Pride" is really just the bluster of a bully. Assured of being right, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, the bully beats up on a weaker person until the weaker person cries "Uncle". The weaker person isn't really convinced but will tell the bully anything to avoid further pummeling.

I'm sure most of the people displaying "The Power of Pride" sticker are really just saying, "I'm proud to be an American," without thinking that what it's really saying is, "I'm proud to be a punk nazi bully". Unfortunately, acting without really thinking things through is what got us the result in the last election.


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